M865 TPCSDS-T Kinetic Energy (KE) training round
M865 TPCSDS-T Kinetic Energy (KE) training round

General Dynamics Awarded $19 Million Contract 120mm Tank Training Ammunition for U.S. Army

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida, was awarded a $19,100,140 modification (P00029) to contract W52P1J-17-C0024 to procure 120mm M865A1 new production cartridges for 120mm tank training ammunition. The 865 training round represents a valuable KE training surrogate for the 120mm smoothbore weapon system. Bids were solicited via the internet with two received. Work will be performed in St. Petersburg, Florida, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2022. Fiscal 2019 and 2020 procurement of ammunition, Army funds in the amount of $19,100,140 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity.

M865 TPCSDS-T Kinetic Energy (KE) training round
M865 TPCSDS-T Kinetic Energy (KE) training round

The M865 TPCSDS-T Kinetic Energy (KE) training round, in service with the United States Army’s main battle tank fleet, utilizes a unique cone stabilizer to limit the safety fan required for tank gunnery. With its matched exterior ballistics, the M865 provides a realistic training device displaying the accuracy and time-of-flight of the service round. The cone stabilizer provides a safety feature limiting the overall flight range to under 8 km, reducing the requirement for extreme range safety fans. The M865 utilizing the same combustible cartridge case as the service round, and designed to resemble the 120mm M829 Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding-Sabot Tracer (APFSDS-T) rounds in operational performance.

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M865 TPCSDS-T Kinetic Energy (KE) training round
M865 TPCSDS-T Kinetic Energy (KE) training round

The main armament of the M1A1 and M1A2 is the M256A1 120 mm smoothbore gun, designed by Rheinmetall AG of Germany, manufactured under license in the U.S. by Watervliet Arsenal, New York. The M256A1 is a variant of the Rheinmetall 120 mm L/44 gun carried on the German Leopard 2 on all variants up to the Leopard 2A5. Leopard 2A6 replaced the L/44 barrel with a longer L/55. Due to the increased calibre, only 40 or 42 rounds are able to be stored depending on if the tank is an A1 or A2 model. The primary APFSDS round of the Abrams is the depleted uranium M829 round, of which four variants have been designed. M829A1, known as the “Silver Bullet”, saw widespread service in the Gulf War,

Gunnery of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Army photo/1st Lt. Michael Smith)
Gunnery of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Army photo/1st Lt. Michael Smith)
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